Tuesday, 30 December 2014

End Of Year Round Up

The famed Levenshulme murals
Welcome to my 2014 music round up!

Due to laptop problems, it very nearly didn't happen. But, where there's a will there's a way, as they say, and although the year is almost over I was still hellbent on sharing my favourite songs of the year with you.

Best Single: Peggy Sue - Idle

Coupled with a video largely comprised of vintage burlesque clips, this deceptively simple start of year release by Peggy Sue captured a sense of restlessness that felt very 2014, but at the same time also seemed timeless. A taster from their Choir of echoes album, 'Idle' should last and last.

In a particularly strong year for singles, it's inevitable that there were quite a few Runners up:

Salt Ashes - Somebody

Coming straight out of nowhere, 'Somebody' and its flipside 'Little Dove' made for a particularly stylish calling card. Whereas 'Little Dove' was brooding minimalist electro, 'Somebody' combines the best elements of recent years Swedish electro pop with the more shimmering, hypnotic aspects of handbag house, meaning that if you missed dancing to this in 2014, you missed a stunning pop moment.

Lose the ropes please though.

Ex Hex - Don't wanna lose

Technically a contender for 2015, as it's only just out as a single, this slice of reverb heavy punk attitude served time earlier this year as an excellent album teaser for the acclaimed Rips album. New York punk swagger, reverb'd guitars and lots of rock'n'roll attitude.

Andrea Balency - You've never been alone

Almost too vocally slight, this slice of R&B tinged pop shows slightly more muscle than her other more ethereal wanderings, and features a catchy refrain which is coupled with post FKA Twigs inspired musical experimentation. It works well, and once it's in your head, it's there to stay.

Best Album: Hollie Cook - Twice

A classic, and very classy, album of lovers rock from Cook. Twice followed a very strong debut album but manages to both complement and surpass it. You can read my full review of the album here.

Runners up: 

La Roux -  Trouble in Paradise

Whereas La Roux's debut saw Elly Jackson seeking inspiration in early '80s electro pop and, it was suspected, everything from Nightrider and Miami Vice to the Blitz club, Trouble in Paradise seeks its inspiration from the slower, more funk infused, rhythmically complex sounds of Grace Jones and the Tom Tom Club. The result is a series of slick, sophisticated pop songs in a mid '80s vein which when combined with Jackson's trademark sharply observational lyrics make for a pop classic.

Owlle - France

Released late in the year, Owlle's debut will probably have missed out on the majority of end of year listings but this subtle and sophisticated album of classy electro pop deserves to be listened to. It occasionally flirts with full on pop ('Ticky Ticky') and R&B ('Creed'), but the moody 'Fog' reveals Owlle as one to watch in the coming year, and France is a strong set of songs that should endure.

Ex Hex - Rips

An audience primed by Wild Flag, Corin Tucker's solo work and the reformation of Sleater-Kinney will have been more than ready to devour this latest project from Helium's Mary Timony. Newcomers will love Rips for what it is: Full on New York punk rawk in a late '70s vein. You can read my full review of the album here. 

Best came to it late album: Jessie Ware - Devotion

Stylish left of centre soul stylings from a singer/songwriter who seems to be going from strength to strength. "If you're never gonna move" is a lovely slice of dancefloor friendly pop, and 'Running' a fantastic brooding soul anthem. Well worth re-discovering.

If you'd like to listen to more of my tracks of 2014, you can also listen to my Spotify playlist.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Dabbling in 'Muso' music journalism

Polydor have, over the past six months or so, been re-releasing a number of Siouxsie and the Banshees albums.

I remember getting an email alert a while back when 1986's Tinderbox got its re-issue, but I didn't feel strongly enough to pitch a review of it to anyone.

But on October 13 the bands final four albums, Through The Looking Glass, Peepshow, Superstition, and The Rapture were reissued, with extra tracks, and I thought it would be a nice task to write a long, detailed, 'muso' type review about the four Banshees albums that are, I think, probably the least written about and lionised.

I suspect my interest in those four albums reflects my age, and the fact that I discovered the Banshees late into their career. I don't have the same emotional attachment to, say, The Scream, than I perhaps would have had if I'd been alive when it was released. As it is, I prefer the 1977-1978 Peel Sessions versions of many of those songs, probably because I encountered those versions of the songs, and came to love those versions, first. It probably helped that the 1977-1978 Peel Sessions LP was My First Punk Record.

I don't really do long, detailed 'muso' reviews of albums. There are a number of reasons for this, including never really having been given the opportunity to write them, but also not really having the technical vocabulary to do it convincingly and rarely getting the opportunity to write about a band that I'm passionate enough about to be geeky enough on the tiny details to do it. For various reasons, I'm just not that kind of music journalist.

So I quite enjoyed getting the opportunity, via Holly Combe at The F-Word, to dabble in that kind of music journalism. Doing it for a feminist website also makes it a more interesting task, and it also means that if I don't quite carry off the muso-ness sufficiently that it doesn't matter as much as it would were I writing a A4 sized featured review for, say, Mojo. (Which would never happen....)

It was interesting to re-listen to the four albums again, as it made me realise how initial reactions and responses to music can change, as well as how specific songs that you hear at specific times can still jolt you back to the time you first heard them, even years later.

I really enjoyed writing the piece, and listening to the albums, and hopefully that comes across.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The girls are back in town

The debut album by Ex Hex, a US 'power trio' comprised of Mary Timony, Laura Harris and Betsy Wright, is released on Monday 13 October. I reviewed the album for The F-Word and it went up on the site yesterday.

Some reviews come together very easily, and in some cases I know almost immediately how the finished thing will unfold. This wasn't quite like that... Because Ex Hex have connections to the US riot grrrl scene, and we do get a lot of riot grrrls and ex riot grrrls reading The F-Word, I knew there would be an audience for it but, as it turned out, the album itself owes a lot  more to the likes of Richard Hell, New York Dolls and Go-Go's than it does to Tuscadero, Helium, Bikini Kill or Bratmobile. Which doesn't make it a disappointment so much as a surprise.

The opening track, 'Don't wanna lose', still sounds amazing and, overall, the effect was of effortless cool as fuck punk rock with a definite swagger to it. If this had been released when I was 16 would have loved it but, as it was, I had Kenickie at the time and they served a similar purpose. In both cases, it's the sort of music that makes you want to stomp around town in short skirts and doc martens (other boots are available...)

What also interested me though was the extent to which it, consciously or unconsciously, seemed to be striving towards a classic rock album, an area of music not particularly open to women. I found this basic contradiction intriguing to say the least.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Monday, 8 September 2014

Undone quotes #5: The lost temple of Nefergeeky

(Edna sulks in her teenage bedroom and recalls her main teenage solace)

"Go To Your Room!, the magazine for petulant teens. It was always full of tips on how to cover your face with your hair, how to write embarrassing poetry, posters of bands that were so obscure they hardly even showed up in their photos. And there, in the corner was my treasured pile of every single issue. The rest of my room contained other treasures, as if it was the lost pyramid of Nefergeeky, the pharaoh that did the most losing."

(Undone, series 2, episode 5 by Ben Moor)

This episode is available to listen to on iplayer until the end of Friday

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Undone quotes #4: A lesson in modern journalism

Carlo: (discussing the contents of his desk at Get Out!)There's a photo of myself smiling taken for the trade press when I was appointed. And next to it one of me looking deflated for the news of my firing. They do them on the same appointment these days for convenience.

(Series 2, Episode 4, Undone by Ben Moor)

This episode is available to listen to on iplayer until the end of Friday

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Undone quotes #3: "A very Undone shopping trip"

Ida: I got the chicken and look, a swiss army roll; it's a cake, but it contains lots of other little more useful cakes that come out of the side.

(Undone series 2, episode 3 by Ben Moor)

Episode 3 of series 2 of Undone is available to listen to iplayer until Saturday

Monday, 18 August 2014

Undone quotes #2: Kate and Edna take drugs in Donlon

Kate: Excuse me, I'm discussing the latest trends in punctuation with this door here, who happens to have the face of Audrey Hepburn.
Edna: What nonsense
Kate: It's not nonsense, look!
Edna: It is nonsense, that's Katherine Hepburn, come on! (Walks in barge ceiling)

(Episode 2, series 2, Undone by Ben Moor)

This episode is available to listen to on BBC iplayer until the end of Friday

Undone quotes #1: Tankerton's ansaphone message

"Hello this is Tankerton, right now, my time. Right now, your time, I'm not as here as I was my now, so please leave a message your now and in a now yet to come, I'll get back at you"

(Episode 1, Series 2, Undone by Ben Moor)

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Undone Series 2

Series 2 of Ben Moor's fabulous Sci Fi comedy Undone begins a re-run tonight at 6:30pm (Saturday 8th August) on BBC 4Extra.

Since I last wrote about the series 4Extra have made some changes to their schedule, meaning that the Seventh Dimension slot now goes out once a week between 6pm and 7pm on Saturdays, rather than 6pm-7pm six days a week.

This is a real shame for me, but I can see that, in these days of austerity and funding cuts, something has to give.

Series 2 of Undone sees Alex Tregear take over the role of Edna from Sarah Solemani. While Tregear brings a different kind of energy to the role, she is equally brilliant as Edna.

Listen to Undone online

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Punk in unusual places

At the moment I'm engrossed in an increasingly immense and complicated durational study of newspaper reports, books, films and advertising between the years 1975 and 1995 to assess how punk was written about, used, portrayed and how the written accounts, use of punk, and portrayals shifted and changed over time.

I haven't discovered what I expected to discover, it's been much more random and unexpected than that.

But I have been reminded of two TV ads from the late '80s which, at the time, I took at face value being young, but which in the first instance now seems definitely both weird and of its time and, in the second instance, still seems as hilarious as when I first saw it.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What Mary Did Next

Mary Timony, formerly of US riot grrrls Helium, and more recently of post riot grrrl supergroup Wild Flag, has an exciting new musical project on the go.

They are called Ex Hex, and comprise of Timony, Laura Harris and Betsy Wright. They will be releasing their debut album, Rips, in October.

In the meantime, here is an excellent sampler track, 'Don't Wanna Lose', which makes me nostalgic for the Go-Go's, Magnapop and Bratmobile.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Troubled Girls

Many books not to mention articles have been written over the decades on the theme of The Modern Girl. In such reports, the Girl tends to be a problem that needs to be solved rather than agent of her own destiny, and this is still sadly the case today.
That young women, teenage girls, young girls today are heavily scrutinised and frequently judged is not a new observation is not a new observation, but what makes Carol Dyhouse’s excellent book, Girl Trouble: Panic and Progress in the History of Young Women,  so refreshing is that way that it takes a long view of female emancipation and changing roles over a century, but that it could also be considered to be a specifically female history of both adolescence and the moral panic in Britain.

Drawing on a wealth of material from newspaper archives, autobiography, and historical, sociological and statistical research to popular culture such as music, film and literature, Dyhouse eschews the obvious and takes the reader on a journey through the backgrounds of social history, a journey that is as refreshing and exciting as it is readable and innovative.
As a historian Dyhouse’s account is neither feminist polemic nor sociological study, though it does borrow from and acknowledge both disciplines. Instead it is remarkably straightforward in tone, and can be enjoyed on both an academic and non specialist level.

The book hooks the reader in with a chapter dedicated to the exploration of the Edwardian period panic about the White Slave Trade (what we would now call trafficking), which was fuelled by a series of lurid novels, films, pamphlets and newspaper articles alongside a smaller number of much reported trials and court cases.
The chapter begins in 1913, at a time when women’s suffrage had been in the public eye and public conscious for twenty years, and was about to be put into a sort of political stasis by the outbreak of the First World War. In what becomes a clear pattern throughout the book, the reduction of young women to frail blossoms, innocent and in need of protection from a specific evil at a time when women were demanding, and getting, positive social change was no accident.

The follow up chapter ‘Unwomanly Types’, which explains how the White Slave Trade panics came directly after the late Victorian New Woman and ran concurrent with suffragist and suffragette campaigns, not to mention the rise of the bluestocking, sets much of the previous chapter in a wider historical and social context.

Chapters themed around, variously, flappers, Good time girls, beat girls and dolly birds, permissiveness and women’s liberation, and ladettes take us all the way from the Victorian New Woman, with her bicycle and bloomers to the modern day, concluding with a brief discussion of Slutwalk.
What is encouraging is that Dyhouse strongly resists the narrative of victimhood while also acknowledging that terrible things do happen. She interrogates cultural myths, such as the rise of anorexia in young women throughout the 1990s (a period when, statistics suggest, anorexia was in decline but bulimia was increasing), and provides shrewd analysis of popular culture (Ronald Searle’s original 1940s drawings of the St Trinians Girls portrayed them as “daemonic, calculating little monsters and subversives” whereas the film depictions of the St Trinians girls have, between 1954 and 2012, become increasingly sexualised) and does not seek obvious answers.

Dyhouse argues that, at times of great social upheaval for women: the 1890s through to 1914, the inter war years (1919-1939), World War II, the 1960s and 1970s, and the 1990s, particular female stereotypes and folk devils have been created and used as a way to belittle and undermine women’s achievements and emancipation, and in this sense both the flappers of the 1920s and the ladettes of the 1990s are part of a chain going back all the way to the New Woman of the 1890s.
What I love about this book is that, not only does it make me excited about social history, but it also sparks off interest for further research and, as an ardent fan of British female middlebrow novels, provides context to innumerable stories and characters. From Cassandra Mortmain’s brief fears of White Slave traders while waiting in a London cornerhouse late at night in Dodie Smith’s I Capture The Castle, to Laura’s descriptions of the revolutionary impact of the bicycle on women’s travel and freedom at the tail end of the nineteenth century in Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford, to the gloriously vivid descriptions of London beatniks and coffee houses in Stella Gibbons’ Here Be Dragons.

Girl Trouble also makes a good companion to Jon Savage’s history of the teenager, Teenage, although its themes and concerns can be quite disparate at times. And it’s also good to see Marek Cohn’s excellent book Dope Girls getting a mention, a brilliant study of flappers, cocaine and Britain’s first drug panic.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Twice Is Nice

Hollie Cook began her musical career as the teenage keyboardist in the final incarnation of legendary punk y reggae band The Slits. While this isn’t always obvious in her solo career, what is clear is that Cook shares with the late Ari Up a love of reggae and dancehall.

A sophisticated and assured piece of work, Cook’s second album Twice manages to weave a complex combination of instrumentation around a central sound and mood that is both vivid and highly atmospheric. While her debut album was almost girl next door London lovers rock, Twice is dancehall as art form and lovers rock as filmic soundtrack.

Cook’s debut self titled album was dedicated to the Slits frontwoman, and Twice opens with ‘Ari Up’, an atmospheric slice of ska which begins as a hymn like eulogy with its proclamation ‘Come, let her fire blaze on’. Of all the tributes written to Ari Up, this salute from protégée to mentor is surely the sweetest.
The slow tracks such as ‘99’, the single ‘Looking for real love’ and album teaser ‘Twice’ mix strings with loping bass, brooding tension and sweetly sad vocals, with ‘99’ and ‘Looking for real love’ reflecting a shift in mood from earlier post break up song ‘That Very Night’.  

By contrast, ‘Desdemona’, ‘Tiger Balm’ and ‘Superfast’ are playful ska infused high quality pop songs whereas ‘Win or Lose’ features harmonised layered vocals over a loping bass line. It manages to be spacey and brooding while remaining sparkling.
Of the up tempo pieces, ‘Postman’ is a particularly good track. It begins enigmatically with a disembodied voice saying, soothingly, ‘You are awakened by sun in the distance’ against a delicate riffle of steel drums and strings. The use of steel drums alongside the ska bass and strings makes this it very danceable to, not to mention a good choice for a future single. It is crowned in its perfection by a particularly delightful drum roll at the end.

But the standout track has to be the title song, ‘Twice’.  A gorgeous slow burner, the delicately mournful strings and slow brooding groove combine with the slow, seductive vocals to build an atmosphere of evening sultry heat. ‘I try everything once,’ purrs Cook, ‘twice if I like it.’

This is a grower that rewards with repeated listens, and builds on the impressive experimentation established by the spacey, dubby ‘Sugar Water’ on Cook’s debut album.  ‘Twice’ is perhaps the most experimental and textured piece on the album and, while it is complex in structure; it still feels spacious rather than crowded by orchestral swirls and occasional guitar fuzz.
Sophisticated and atmospheric, with a central cohesion and mood, Twice is an accomplished album by an artist still testing her wings in many ways. Having yielded at least two possible contenders for song of the year, the album is in a strong position for album of the year.

Twice is out now on Mr Bongo.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Soundtracks to writing

I haven't been doing much, blog wise, recently because I'm in the throes of writing a new section for the punk women project I (innocently) started in 2009. It was, at the time, to be a stand alone piece for the F-Word, but it grew into a behemoth that was serialised in six parts and has never really stopped growing, even after the initial six parts were published.

One day it will be finished, but not yet.

The new section is on fanzines and fanzine writers, and writing it has reminded me of the extent to which I increasingly need a soundtrack when writing.

I am perhaps unusual in that I still write in longhand then, depending on the state of the first draft when it's been gone over/mauled by biro, I either re-draft by hand or type it and edit/re-draft as I go. This is a bit time consuming, but it works for me. One of the advantages of typing from a paper draft is that, if I find something a waste of time/too dull to type then I know it shouldn't go in and, as such, discard it.

Previously, the only really huge things I wrote were fiction and, as such, soundtracks made a lot of sense in terms of developing characters: I still have mixtapes I made of songs I was listening to when writing both Touch Sensitive and Screaming In Public, in the latter case, by the end of it, each character had their own soundtrack.

But when I'm writing about music, I can't listen to the music I'm writing about while simultaneously writing about it. As such, when I wrote my chapter on the music of riot grrrl for the Black Dog Publishing book Riot Grrrl: Revolution Girl Style Now! I wrote it to a combination of the first Rasputina album and Miranda Sex Garden, interspaced with New Order's 'Touched by the hand of God' and Joan Jett's 'I love rock'n'roll'. The latter two were for dancing to whenever I got a bit of a mental block with the writing.

The first version of the punk women series, by contrast, was written largely in silence but I had a mixtape for listening to inbetween writing stints and for when I hit a mental block. The mixtape had a lot of Santigold, Kate Bush and Florence + the Machine on it, along with bits of the Xena, Warrior Princess soundtracks, mainly all the amazon bits. It made a kind of sense at the time.

The handwritten draft was typed to Blondie's greatest hits, but that was coincidence because it was Boxing Day when I started typing, and I'd got it for Christmas. I also typed it to two mix CD's friends had made me, so my two 'pause and dance' songs were The Flirtations 'Nothing But A Heartache' and Architecture In Helsinki' 'Heart It Races'. 2009 into 2010 was a very cold, very snowy winter, so 'Pause and dance' was employed more often than usual as my feet regularly needed warming up.

In terms of the new section, it has been drafted to a mixture of Tommy James and the Shondelles, Spanky & Our Gang, Mediaevael Baebes, and the Aisler's Set. Writing is done in the living room/bedroom (it's a studio flat, so it's both) and typing is done in the kitchen, where the soundtrack is laptop and digital radio derived. So it is currently being typed to what I have in Spotify but, in a minute, I shall get the tape player and plug it in so I can type to my old mixtape from 2009 with the Xena Amazon bits, Santigold, Kate Bush and Florence + the Machine....

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Sally Heathcote: Suffragette

Recently I interviewed Suzy Varty, who has been making comics since the 1970s, about comics, fanzines, Birmingham Arts Lab and punk.

When discussing the growing respectability of comics as an art form, and the phenomenon of the graphic novel, we touched on the work of Mary and Bryan Talbot.

The Talbot's, along with artist Kate Charlesworth, have created Sally Heathcoate: Suffragette, a graphic novel, which tells the story of votes for women in Edwardian Britain. The novel is published on 1st May and on Saturday 17th May, they will be talking about the novel at the Cartoon Museum in London, which is also currently hosting what looks like a fantastic exhibition/celebration of all things Spitting Image.

I really love the idea of a graphic novel about the suffragettes, not just because I think it will make a great story, but because it's great on an educational level and because I think it will make history feel more real, much as the likes of Oh! What A Lovely War!, re-published compendiums of The Wipers Times, and the recent BBC film on The Wipers Times all add extra perspective to popular histories of World War I.

In 2018, it will be the 200 year anniversary of the Peterloo massacre and the 100 year anniversary of the extension of the franchise to women (though women aged 21-30 had to wait until 1928 for the vote). In 2019, it will be the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War 1, an event inextricably linked to the granting of the franchise. I hope that none of these anniversaries will be forgotten, and in fact, in that respect, Sally Heathcote: Suffragette is definitely arriving at the right kind of time.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Live Wild Die Free

Sometimes when you review an album, you find yourself liking it for rather different reasons than you think you would.

So it has been with the debut album by Swedish band Vulkano. Their press releases touted them as a riot grrrl band, but when you listen to them the strongest influences appear to be mid eighties synth pop and post punk. Which is not to say that there aren't any gender politics discussed, because there are - there are songs about being followed home and internet trolls - but the whole album comes across like a sophisticated post punk pop post riot grrrl confection.

I've reviewed the album for the F-Word, and while I didn't like all of it, I did find it innovative and inventive enough to want to hear it again.

They are a band who walk a tightrope between punk and pop and it'll be interesting to see how things pan out for them.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

That which is done, cannot be Undone

In the run up to Christmas I wrote a piece for the excellent Manchester magazines The Shrieking Violet on the theme of alternative versions of cities, specifically Manchester through the eyes of Jeff Noon in the Vurt books and London through the eyes of Neil Gaimon and (in more detail) Ben Moor.

This marked something of a departure for me, writing wise, as despite being a fan of Sci Fi and Fantasy narratives, I don't tend to write them or write about them. Mainly because I've always suspected I wouldn't be very good at it.

It took a while to suspend this fear when writing the magazine article, but I was determined to do so because I'd spent the summer months of 2013 being absolutely obsessed with and addicted to Ben Moor's Sci Fi comedy Undone, a process made even more difficult by the fact that innumerable friends and acquaintances had become obsessed with Breaking Bad around the same time.

Undone was a radio series that went out on BBC7 between late 2006 and early 2010. It's third series has been repeated on BBC7's replacement, 4Extra, and a repeat of series 1 is due to air next week. I hope series 2 and 3 will follow.

It's good to hear that the producers and schedulers at 4Extra haven't forgotten about Moor's classic series, which was after all the longest running commissioned series on BBC7. Tasters have been airing all last week on the station, reminding listeners not only that this was a show where both Sarah Solemani and Tim Key got to cut their teeth but also that the endearing Moor (who plays Tankerton Slopes in the series) was really onto something with his concept.

Undone begins with the arrival of 21 year old Edna Turner in London from Towcester. Edna is due to start a three month trial as a journalist at the London listings magazine Get Out! and, as with all newcomers, is finding her new home a bit odd. Things become odder when she meets the enigmatic Tankerton Slopes, who introduces her to Undone, a surreal parallel version of London where there literally are Faceless Bureaucrats, a Pet Tricks club where cute furry animals perform amusing stunts, seemingly of their own volition, and bizarre magazines and TV shows such as Get A Move On! (the magazine for impatient people) and Molotov Cocktail Party (a magazine show that reviews the days riots and disturbances around the world).

Undone works on a number of levels, it is Alice in Wonderland in some respects and a very funny satire on the London media world on another level. It features likable characters, imaginative and creative storylines, twists in the narratives and charm that is rare.  

Undone series 1, episode 1, goes out at 6:30pm on Monday and continues at the same time throughout the week on 4Extra.  

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New for 2014: Peggy Sue, 'Idle'

Peggy Sue (formerly Peggy Sue and the Pirates) have been busy. Their new album, Choir of Echoes, will be released on 27th January. In the meantime, current single 'Idle', with it's solemn and soulful folk vocal refrain, choppy guitars and 20s burlesque inspired video, is available, providing a hint of what's to come.

The bands album launch in St Pancras Old Church might be sold out, but the band are touring the UK in April. They're in Brighton at the Green Door Store on 7/4, in Coventry at The Tin on 8/4, in Manchester at the Soup Kitchen on 9/4, in Glasgow at Broadcast on 10/4, in Liverpool at Leaf on 11/4, in Sheffield at The Harley on 12/4, in Bristol at The Old Bookshop on 14/4 and in London at the Oslo at 15/4. Support comes from Eyes & No Eyes.

New for 2014: Silje Leirvik, Silver and Gold

Silje Leirvik hails from the north of Norway, where her debut album With the lights turned out so beautiful has a loyal following.

She hasn't released anything in the UK yet, but an album, Endless Serenade, will be available soon. In the meantime, this track, 'Silver and Gold', has been made available as a taster.

The sound is warm, textured sixties esque folk pop and rock. She has a powerful voice that is warm enough to carry this particular sound, and the quality of the songwriting suggests that she could be one to watch in 2014.